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The most important factors known to influence the eating quality of beef are well established and include both pre- and post-slaughter events with many of the determinants interacting with each other. A substantial programme of work has been conducted by the Agri-Food and Biosciences Institute in Northern Ireland aimed at quantifying those factors of most importance to the local beef industry. Post-slaughter effects such as carcase chilling and electrical stimulation, ageing, carcase hanging and cooking method have been shown to have a significant impact on eating quality when compared with pre-slaughter activities such as animal handling and lairage time in the Northern Ireland studies. However, the effect of animal breed, particularly the use of dairy breed animals, was shown to significantly improve eating quality. Many of these factors were found to interact with each other.
Mixing of cattle prior to slaughter which results in aggressive activity (Mohan Raj et al 1992) leads to glycogen depletion pre-slaughter and subsequently meat with a higher ultimate pH (pHu). Purchas et al (1990) reported a quadratic relationship between pHu and tenderness with highest shear force values recorded between pHu 5.8 to 6.2. The aim of this study was to determine the effect of fasting and mixing of steers prior to slaughter on the meat eating quality of longissimus dorsi (LD) muscle.
Recent data on meat quality indicates that dairy genotypes produce more tender meat than beef genotypes. The relationships between carcass parameters and instrumental measures of meat quality depend on the method of hanging (Lively et al., 2005). The present study was undertaken to evaluate the impact of some carcass parameters on meat eating quality of two genotypes when two carcass hanging methods are used.
The proportion of beef cattle originating from the suckler herd is projected to decrease, relative to the proportion from the dairy herd. Sinclair et al., (2001) found no difference between eating quality of Holstein and Charolais when hung tenderstretch. Most genotype comparisons in relation to meat quality have used the longissimus dorsi muscle and very few have considered more than one particular post slaughter process (ie hanging technique, aging period). The present study was undertaken to investigate the effect of genotype and post slaughter processing (hanging technique and aging time) on the eating quality of a range of hindquarter muscles.